Dear Reader,

Having read David Rock's book ‘Your Brain At Work' I thought I would share some of the ideas from the book in future editions of Inspire and in my talks and workshops.

More morsels of information at the end of this Inspire about ….

  • Your Brain At Work – I am doing presentations on 21st June at the Thame Late Breakfast network meeting and 2nd July at the FBBC network meeting, come and hear me talk…..
  • Do you want speakers for your business network event? I speak at a range of events….
  • Free coaching audits …. Not sure if coaching will help you? Then try one of my free coaching audits.
  • Managing Challenging Interactions Workshop … Put Thursday 18th October in your diary for a free taster workshop near Chalgrove.
  • Twice daily encouragement … follow me on Twitter: MelanieInspires.

If you enjoyed today's edition of Inspire, please feel free to share it with friends and colleagues. They can sign up for free at

Best wishes





What is the link between your brain, energy and performance?

Our brain: decision making and problem solving When we make decisions or solve problems we use our prefrontal cortex, which sits behind our forehead. It was the last part of our brain to develop during human evolution. David Rock explains in his book ‘Your Brain At Work', that the prefrontal cortex enables your brain to do the following:

  • Set goals, even simple ones like get out of bed and brush your teeth, as well as long term ones such as working towards running a marathon or planning a new sales strategy.
  • Control impulses, i.e. not blurting out the first thing that is in your head, as well as not eating anything you want the whole time.
  • Solve problems, from as simple as unjamming your printer to complex ones like running a business.
  • Visualise the future or something you have not seen before.
  • Be creative at work or tell a story to your children.

Without our prefrontal cortex we couldn't operate in the world, we would be on autopilot with no thought about what we were doing.

What are the limitations of your prefrontal cortex? There are, however, limitations to the power of the frontal cortex. In order to perform effectively, the prefrontal cortex needs to have everything just so in order to work at its best. Rock quotes Amy Arnsten who says, “the prefrontal cortex is like the Goldilocks of the brain. It has to have everything just right or it doesn't function well.' But if you think about the modern working world, when we get to work and need to focus on something important like writing a proposal or preparing for a client meeting, it is easy to get distracted by all the emails in our inbox, take telephone calls, get interrupted by colleagues. When this happens the power of our prefrontal cortex starts to decrease with each new distraction, so that when we start to focus on that proposal or the meeting we are preparing for we are not firing on all cylinders. Therefore, our ability to perform effectively and efficiently starts to decrease.

‘If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place.'

Lao Tzu

What happens to your prefrontal cortex when you are carrying out different tasks? David Rock uses the metaphor of actors on the stage of a small theatre to explain how the prefrontal cortex works. Notice he says ‘small' theatre, as the prefrontal cortex cannot deal with too many things at once on stage, as with every extra ‘actor', or task, it has to focus on, its performance starts to decrease. He explains as follows:

‘Once actors are on the stage of your attention there are lots of interesting things you can do with them…..

To understand a new idea, you have to put new actors on the stage and hold them there long enough to see how they connect to audience members…..

To make a decision, you have to hold actors on stage and compare them to one another, making value judgements…..

To recall information, meaning to bring a memory from the past back to mind, you bring an audience member up on stage. If that memory is old, it might be at the back of the audience, in the dark. It can take time and effort to find this audience member…..

To memorize information, you need to get actors off the stage and into the audience……

The process of inhibition, of keeping certain actors off the stage, requires a lot of effort. It is also central to effective functioning in life……

These five functions, understanding, deciding, recalling, memorizing, and inhibiting, make up the majority of conscious thought.'

How do you get the best from your prefrontal cortex? You might be thinking now, ‘OK but what do I do to get the best from my prefrontal cortex and conscious thought?' or ‘Yes, but what does that mean to me at work today?'. Here are some of the actions I have been taking since reading David's book, and the increase in productivity when I do them is noticeable, and when I don't do them it is even more marked in terms of increase in disorganisation, pressure and decrease in performance.

When I have a task that I need to focus my brain on and really concentrate, or make decisions, or be creative, like writing this edition of Inspire or a proposal, then I do the following:

  • I firstly check my emails to make sure there is nothing urgent to be dealt with, and I ignore all the other non-urgent emails, leaving them for later.
  • I quit Outlook, so that I am not distracted by incoming emails.
  • I timetable to look at my emails later on, so I know they won't be ignored completely.
  • I clear my desk of other work, and my desktop, which is like clearing the stage of your prefrontal cortex theatre so I can focus on the task.
  • I set a time slot for the task, so I know how long I want to focus on it and how long it is realistic for me to focus on it before I need a break and refreshments – see below about your brain and your energy levels.
  • I ignore the phone wherever possible. If I am expecting a client to call, either I make sure I schedule my work around the call or have their number in my phone address book, and only take their call and leave all the rest to voicemail.
  • I write down anything I need to remember for other projects or tasks so I can focus on the task in hand and not have to remember things for later.
  • I clear my head, deal with any emotions that might cloud my judgement. Click here for more information on my book, which has a whole section on managing your mood.
  • And I have just realised I also go to the loo!!! So I am not distracted by a full bladder, and I do think that physical discomfort can also be a distraction, so make sure your desk, chair are making you comfortable.

I can hear you saying, ‘Yes, but what if an important client calls or emails me?'. My answer to coaching clients who say this is, ‘What happens when you are in a meeting with a client, you don't stop to check your emails or answer calls from other clients'. See below for the benefits to your clients if you work like this.

‘It's not that some people have willpower and some don't. It's that some people are ready to change and others are not.'

James Gordon, M.D.

Benefits to your clients (and you!) Your clients will benefit from you being more efficient, effective and less pressured in the following ways:

  • Your quality of interactions with them, whether face to face, on the telephone or via email, a report or proposal will be enhanced because you will have given better quality brain power to the process.
  • The solutions that you provide your client with, whatever your business, are likely to be better, because you are using your brain in a way to provide better understanding of their issues, better decision making and problem solving.
  • You will be more efficient and effective and hit deadlines. I have some clients who come to me because they are either missing deadlines with their clients or only achieving them through working in the evenings or weekends, which doesn't benefit you or your client, as you are not having downtime to allow your brain or your body to rest.

Which leads me to the benefits for you:

  • Being more productive at work leads to freer evenings and weekends to spend time with family, friends, exercising and doing fun things, which in turn will lead you to feel more energised back at work.
  • You will feel less pressured and stressed, more relaxed, which will enhance your quality of life and the quality of your interactions with your colleagues, clients, family and friends!! See this previous Inspire for more information on the difference between stress and pressure.
  • You might even get more positive feedback and referrals (if you run your own business or are in sales) because of the above points.

‘The power of man has grown in every sphere, except over himself.'

Sir Winston Churchill

If you have found this edition of Inspire interesting, and want to learn more then…

  • Come to one of the talks I am doing based on the book – see details below.
  • Have some coaching, as the work I do with my clients has always taken an ‘inside out' approach to changing behaviour and increasing performance. See below for more information about my free coaching audits.
  • Read David Rock's book, ‘Your Brain At Work'.
  • Read my book, ‘Master Your Inner Critic', which has lots of techniques for managing your mood, mind and inner critic. See here for details.
  • Or talk to me about running an in-house workshop for your team.


Your Brain At Work – Do you want to improve your performance, decrease your stress levels and get more enjoyment from your work?

In May at the Late Breakfast in Didcot, I gave an interactive presentation based on David Rock's book, ‘Your Brain At Work', which went down very well, with lots of questions and interaction with the audience. If you missed this talk then there are two more opportunities to hear it:

  • Wednesday 21st June Thame Late Breakfast, for details and to book a place visit Networking starts at 9am, presentation at 9.30am and finish by 10.30am. Cost is £10, payable in cash on the door.
  • Monday 2nd July FBBC breakfast networking meeting in Faringdon, 7.30 – 9.00am. £10 for full cooked breakfast. Visit for details.

Do you want speakers for your business network event? I speak at a range of team events, awaydays and business networks, and always make sure that the talks are interactive and practical, with people learning something that they can directly apply back at work. Recent talks have included:

  • Managing Challenging Interactions
  • Mastering Your Inner Critic (based on my book)
  • Changing Habits of a Lifetime
  • Learning From Your Mistakes
  • Managing Your Mood and Motivation
  • Your Brain At Work


Free coaching audits 

Each month I have three slots for a complimentary coaching audit to help you to identify whether coaching will assist you in what you want to achieve and what coaching programme will be right for you. This free audit involves the following:

  • You complete a pre-coaching questionnaire and return it to me.
  • We have a 45 minute telephone conversation to discuss your needs and how you might use the coaching to enhance how you work and run your business.
  • I send you a proposal of which coaching programmes might be suitable, or if other interventions such as training or a team working event might be more appropriate.
  • You then make a decision as to whether you wish to proceed.

If you want to sign up for the free coaching audit in April and May then email See below for more information about the different types of coaching I offer.


Managing Challenging Interactions Taster Workshop

Put Thursday 18th October in your diary for a free taster workshop near Chalgrove.


Do you want to be more authentic at work and in your life?

There are a range of coaching and training programmes to assist you in developing your skills and confidence….

  • A six month Coaching For Excellence Programme to provide intensive coaching support to assist you in bringing about change in your mindset, your mood and state, and the impact these have on you achieving your goals.
  • One off Catalytic Coaching Programmes, to unblock whatever it is that is stopping you from changing your behaviour.
  • Ad hoc Coaching Sessions Ad hoc coaching sessions can be on any topic. Sometimes they are designed to assist you in getting the most from my book. At other times people have a specific issue they are facing or have attended a course and need more support in terms of how they apply the ideas to their lives.
  • Master Your Inner Critic Online Programme This includes a series of four e-booklets and four video clips based on my book to support you in putting the techniques and ideas into practice.
  • Effective Team Building Programmes We have many years of experience running programmes for both senior management and operational teams.
  • Tailored Development Programmes From one day events to on-going programmes, we can design them to meet your needs.

To find out more about these programmes email me on or call me on 01865 377334.


Do you want a taster of our services?

Then take a look at our freebies on the website for:

Recordings of my free webinars on:

  • Mastering your inner critic.
  • Changing Habits of A Lifetime
  • Improve Your Performance: Learn From Your Mistakes And Successes

Click here to listen to these recordings.

Free articles on the following topics:

  • Selling from the Inside Out
  • Managing Mood and Motivation During Challenging Times
  • Supporting others through Challenging Times
  • Master your inner critic
  • Buying in consultancy

Click here to read the articles.

For further book recommendations:

Click here.


For more information about Inspire Transformation visit our website: call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email and follow Melanie on Twitter: MelanieInspires.


Why not share Inspire with colleagues and friends?

If you know of anyone else who might be interested in receiving Inspire for free, pass this onto them or they can sign up on my website:

Melanie Greene
01865 377334